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The Best Maine Kids Books

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The Circus Ship
Written & illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

After courageously swimming to shore when the ship that they are traveling on sinks and the wretched captain does nothing to rescue them, circus animals find a way to become a valued part of a coastal community.

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The Story Web
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In this heartfelt magical novel, Megan Frazer Blakemore shows that how we wield stories has the power to shape the world. When Alice was little, she found a gigantic spider web deep in the forest. Her dad called it the Story Web and told her how its strands were woven from the stories that hold our world together. Years later, Alice’s dad is gone, and she’s sure it’s her fault. Now she won’t even talk about her dad and definitely doesn’t believe his farfetched stories. But when animals in town start acting strangely, she can’t ignore them. They are trying to tell her the Story Web is in danger - that the fabric of our world is breaking. The only way to mend it is to tell honest tales from the heart. Alice must confront the real reason her dad is gone, but is she strong enough to finally tell her side of the story? This magical tale of truth and honesty, integrity and intention is perfect for fans of Katherine Applegate.

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The Newspaper Club
Written & illustrated by Beth Vrabel
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Shortly after Nellie Murrow, named for one of the fiercest journalists who ever lived and daughter of two (former) newspaper reporters, move to sleepy Bear Creek, Maine, rumors of vandalism and attacks at the only park in town are keeping Nellie saddled to the house.

Some townspeople say the attacks are gang recruitments. Others blame a vagrant spotted on the hiking trails around town. But when Nellie thinks like a reporter, none of those explanations make sense. Something is happening at the park, but what? All of the fake online news and rumors are clouding the real news.

Nellie wants to break the story–and break free from the front yard-but she can’t do it alone. She needs a whole club if she’s going to start the town’s first independent newspaper–The Cub Report. Creating a newspaper from scratch is going to be tough; but for Nellie, making friends is even harder.

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The Orphan Band of Springdale
Written & illustrated by Anne Nesbet
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

With the United States on the verge of World War II, eleven-year-old Gusta is sent from New York City to Maine, where she discovers small-town prejudices – and a huge family secret. It’s 1941, and tensions are rising in the United States as the Second World War rages in Europe. Eleven-year-old Gusta’s life, like the world around her, is about to change. Her father, a foreign-born labor organizer, has had to flee the country, and Gusta has been sent to live in an orphanage run by her grandmother. Nearsighted, snaggletoothed Gusta arrives in Springdale, Maine, lugging her one precious possession: a beloved old French horn, her sole memento of her father. But in a family that’s long on troubles and short on money, how can a girl hang on to something so valuable and yet so useless when Gusta’s mill-worker uncle needs surgery to fix his mangled hand, with no union to help him pay? Inspired by her mother’s fanciful stories, Gusta secretly hopes to find the coin-like “Wish” that her sea-captain grandfather supposedly left hidden somewhere. Meanwhile, even as Gusta gets to know the rambunctious orphans at the home, she feels like an outsider at her new school – and finds herself facing patriotism turned to prejudice, alien registration drives, and a family secret likely to turn the small town upside down.

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Time of Wonder
Written & illustrated by Robert McCloskey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Winner of the Caldecott Medal! For fans of Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in Maine, and Make way for Ducklings.

“Out on the islands that poke their rocky shores above the waters of Penobscot Bay, you can watch the time of the world go by, from minute to minute, hour to hour, from day to day . . .” So begins this classic story of one summer on a Maine island from the author of One Morning in Maine and Blueberries for Sal. The spell of rain, the gulls and a foggy morning, the excitement of sailing, the quiet of the night, the sudden terror of a hurricane, and, in the end, the peace of the island as the family packs up to leave are shown in poetic language and vibrant, evocative pictures.

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  • Fudge-a-Mania - Part of the classic Fudge series from Judy Blume, bestselling author of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing! Peter Hatcher can’t catch a break. His little brother, Fudge—the five-year-old human hurricane—has big plans to marry Peter’s sworn enemy, Sheila Tubman. That alone would be enough to ruin Peter’s summer, but now his parents have decided to rent a summer home next door to Sheila the Cootie Queen’s house. Peter will be trapped with Fudge and Sheila for three whole weeks! “As a kid, Judy Blume was my favorite author, and _Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing_ was my favorite book.”—Jeff Kinney, author of the bestselling Wimpy Kid series Love Fudge, Peter, and Sheila? Read all the books featuring your favorite characters:
    Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
    Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great
    Superfudge

    Double Fudge 

  • Dear America: Like the Willow Tree - Two-time Newbery Award-winning author Lois Lowry brings a brand-new, beautiful diary to the Dear America series! Suddenly orphaned by the Spanish flu epidemic in the fall of 1918, eleven-year-old Lydia Pierce and her fourteen-year-old brother, Daniel, of Portland, Maine, are taken by their uncle to be raised in the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake. Thrust into the Shakers’ unfamiliar way of life, Lydia must grapple with a new world that is nothing like the one she used to know. Now separated from her beloved brother, for men and women do not mix in this community, Lydia must adjust to many changes. But in time, and with her courageous spirit, she learns to find the joy in life again.

  • Hitty: Her First Hundred Years - Hitty is a doll of great charm and character. It is indeed a privilege to publish her memoirs, which, besides being full of the most thrilling adventures on land and sea, also reveal her delightful personality. One glance at her portrait will show that she is no ordinary doll. Hitty, or Mehitable as she was really named, was made in the early 1800s for Phoebe Preble, a little girl from Maine. Young Phoebe was very proud of her beautiful doll and took her everywhere, even on a long sailing trip in a whaler. This is the story of Hitty’s years with Phoebe, and the many that follow in the life of a well-loved doll.

  • Sign of the Beaver - A 1984 Newbery Honor Book Although he faces responsibility bravely, thirteen-year-old Matt is more than a little apprehensive when his father leaves him alone to guard their new cabin in the wilderness. When a renegade white stranger steals his gun, Matt realizes he has no way to shoot game or to protect himself. When Matt meets Attean, a boy in the Beaver clan, he begins to better understand their way of life and their growing problem in adapting to the white man and the changing frontier.

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Sea Chest
Written by Toni Buzzeo & illustrated by Mary GrandPré and Margaret Spengler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-

From the author of the2013 Caldecott Honor Book, ONE COOL FRIEND! <BR> As they wait for the arrival of a new baby, Maita tells her great-grandniece the story of her remarkable childhood. Living sheltered on a lighthouse island with only her parents for company, Maita always longed for a sibling-longed not to be the only child the ragged island knew. And then one icy night, howling winds blew wave after wave against the shore, and from that fearsome storm came a sea chest-a gift that would change Maita’s life forever. <BR> From a beguiling Maine legend, newcomer Toni Buzzeo has fashioned this exquisitely lyrical, intimate tale, illustrated in vibrant oil paintings by Mary GrandPre. Together they have created a book of classic beauty and resonance.

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One Morning in Maine
Written by Robert McCloskey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
A Caldecott Honor Book!
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Calico Bush
Written by Rachel Field
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
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Wildfire
Written by Rodman Philbrick
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Newbery Honor author Rodman Philbrick sends readers straight into the nightmare of a raging wildfire as 12-year-old Sam is trapped by explosive flames and deadly smoke that threaten to take his life. Can he survive?
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